Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dietary Thinking is Painful

Photo Credit: Rachel Cogyddes via Compfight cc

Last night's experiment with a slow cooker, a package of "Buffalo Chicken sauce" and 12 chicken thighs has left us with 3 pounds (no, really - I checked) of shredded chicken and no idea what to do with it. This is after we created buffalo chicken salads for dinner last night, mind you. Surfing through all the different web pages on how to use shredded chicken, I am struck by how many of these recipes are totally not suitable for our current diet. (So far, 100% of them.) Which has me thinking even more about how difficult this transition from "obese eating" to post-surgical diet really has been.

Take breakfast, for example. Used to be we could pour a couple bowls of cereal, maybe top with a little fruit, and call it done. If we were feeling really ambitious we would assemble all the materials for breakfast burritos: you know, tortillas, potatoes, peppers, eggs, chorizo or bacon, shredded cheese, a little salsa. Half an hour's work for pure breakfast bliss.

Nowadays we look in the fridge, completely perplexed. And frequently just settle for cottage cheese with fruit or yogurt for breakfast, because thinking in the morning is so hard. Bagels, toast, English Muffins - all the easy solutions are barred to us unless we want serious carb restrictions for the rest of the day. Scrambled eggs, you say? Scrambled eggs are just so...meh.

The problem with eating just yogurt for breakfast is that you are starving to death (or, at least you think you are) an hour later. But snacking creates some problems of its own. Firstly, snacks aren't regulated very well and are an easy way to slip back up into high-calorie eating. But the real problem is drinking. We're supposed to wait an hour after every meal before drinking again. If we are eating every couple of hours, we have very limited windows for fluid intake (remember, no gulping, only sipping.) And trying to fit 64 ounces of water in every day is tough enough without reducing the amount of time we have to drink.

Lunches, at least, are easier. Our go-to lunch nowadays is deli meat, block cheese, and nuts of some kind, along with a piece of fruit. We had been doing fruit and vegetable smoothies for lunch every day but were "corrected" by our nutritionist. "Don't drink your calories!" has become a familiar refrain during our nutritional visits. I still think we were getting a greater nutritional benefit from all the fruits and vegetables we were putting into our smoothies, but I am not the one with all the fancy letters after my name, so I am forcing myself to pay attention and be a good student.

But dinners...oh, man, dinners are a stumbling block. Used to be multiple times a week Lor and I would look at each other and simultaneously decide "I don't want to cook!". And then we would be off to the closest fast-food joint, ordering (super-sized) value meals and soft drinks. And then wondering why we were hungry again an hour before bedtime.

The era of the value meal has passed. As long as we have planned carefully, everything is ok. But on the days where we forget to plan, dinner time is a furball of frustration, as we attempt to figure out what in the heck we are going to eat when nothing has been thawed out and no meal plan exists. Salads seem to happen a lot. Sounds healthy, but is awfully boring. Not to mention the pile of dishes every single night. (Our dishwasher broke just in time for us to start cooking at home 90% of the time. Of course.)

Don't tell Lor, but I am soooo looking forward to the all-liquid diet around my surgery. For 4 glorious weeks, I won't have to think about food. She is very concerned about getting bored with the constant repetition of vanilla/chocolate/vanilla/chocolate. Me, I couldn't care less. I will be so delighted to not have to plan - it will be like a return to the days of instant gratification at the drive-through window.

Just, you know, liquid. And chocolate or vanilla.

Wondering How To Make Chicken Enchiladas Without Tortillas,

- Hawkwind

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